A powerful purpose: How even in retirement, Rob is still making a difference at Cardinia Shire Council

After a lifelong career working for local government, Rob didn’t want to stopserving his community when he retired from full-time work. So, he switched lanes to school crossings! As a School Crossing Supervisor, Rob loves the freedom the role gives him to take advantage of retirement while connecting with his new community and keeping kids safe.

Committed to connection

The year was 1978. Grease was topping the box office, although only 64% of Melburnians could watch it in full technicolour. Melbourne and St Kilda football clubs set an AFL record for the highest aggregate score of 52.33 (345) that still stands to this day. And Rob started his career in local government, marking the start of an impact that, like the AFL score, also still stands today!

Rob started his career in finance for a neighbouring council but, after a number of roles over a 20-year period, he was seeking a new opportunity to make a more direct impact. When a new customer service unit was established, Rob thought it would be a great fit, so he decided to make the move.

“The great thing about local government is you have opportunities to move into something completely different if you want to,” Rob says. “Because my finance experience was based around processes and procedures, I was able to move into customer service and then develop a training program for them. It was great to see the team grow in confidence as they developed new skills; it really helped bring them together.”

Despite how different customer service was from finance, Rob found it refreshing to talk to people instead of crunching numbers. He played an integral role in developing additional training programs, updating computer systems and passing his knowledge of council down to newer members as one of the trusted team leaders.

But as Rob grew older and started looking towards retirement, he didn’t want to lose the sense of connection he felt working for communities.

“I really got to know the people in the community and hear their thoughts on what the area needed. I lived in the community, too, so the work I did added more value to the things I personally value. I joined council in the first place because I genuinely believe in what councils do, and even though I decided to retire, I felt a need to keep connected to the community. It’s just a part of me.”

Looking to retire but want to stay connected to your community?

A role at Cardinia Shire Council could be a great fit!

Flexibility and freedom

When Rob transitioned to a role as School Crossing Supervisor, it was completely different to anything he’d previously done. Working outdoors instead of indoors with kids instead of adults and casual hours instead of full time. He saw it as a new challenge and a great fit for his upcoming retirement.

“It’s the perfect role for somebody who wants to start easing into retirement but still stay connected in the community,” Rob says. “It’s flexible, easy and really enjoyable work. And it was easy to move across to Cardinia Shire Council when I moved into the area. They’ve been as flexible with me as I’ve been with them, which suits me down to the ground.”

Always an early bird, the earlier start to his day doesn’t bother Rob. In fact, he’ll often squeeze in a quick walk before arriving on site at 7.45 am. From there, Rob spends around an hour at the crossing, ensuring everyone makes it to school safely.

“The kids are my number one focus – keeping them and everyone else who crosses the road safe. I try to communicate with everyone who approaches the crossing, even though it’s often brief because getting them across the road is the main priority. I’ll always say, ‘Good morning, everyone, I hope you all have a great day’, and if I have some extra time with them, I’ll talk to a couple of the kids about what subjects they have on that day or what sports they like. Connecting with them is what I love most about my role.”

When Rob’s morning shift ends, he’s free to head home until school finishes in the afternoon. He loves that his role gives him so much free time in the day to do whatever he likes, such as working on his budding passion for photography, home landscaping projects, and looking after his grandchildren. They’re not quite school-aged yet, but who knows? Rob might see them at the crossing in a few years! Until then, there’s plenty of other kids who value seeing his smiling face on their way to school.

“What really fills my cup is when the students ask me how my day is going in return. I think, ‘Wow, even though I only see them for 30 seconds, it’s great to be able to connect with them on that basis.’ Moments like that make me believe that my work is valued and encourages me to keep doing the best job I can.”

A place to call home

Although Rob only made the move to Cardinia Shire in early 2023, he already feels right at home. He and his wife have loved soaking up the shire’s family-friendly culture, getting to know their neighbours and becoming dedicated community custodians.

“One of the funny things I didn’t expect was when I’m out landscaping my yard, people walking by will stop for a chat. You really get to know the people in the community, which is exactly the kind of connection I wanted to maintain through my retirement. Cardinia Shire feels much more like a community than anywhere I’ve lived before; it has a laid-back, family-oriented feel to it.”

More than just the feel-good factor, though, Rob’s excited to see how the shire continues to grow and change in the coming years, with many innovative developments in the pipeline.

“Cardinia Shire Council is a really exciting organisation to be involved with. It’s the kind of place where you can grow and develop with the municipality, which means great opportunities for anyone working here. And because it’s your community, everything you give will come back to you. If you’re looking for a career where you can really build a future, this is the place to be.”

Together, Different, Future

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